Friday, October 8, 2010

Thoughts on the Censoring of Art Works.

In a case that is becoming so common place as to be cliché, the Patterson Gallery in the School of Visual Arts at Penn State University has refused to exhibit Joshua Stulman's series of paintings entitled Portraits of Terror, which the artist says explores the terrorist culture found within areas of the Palestinian territories and how radicalized Islam attempts to legitimize terrorism.

Penn State claimed the work violated the University's "Zero Tolerance policy for Hate". Gratz College in Philadelphia canceled plans to exhibit the paintings out of fear of violence being committed against the institution.

One has to wonder if Penn State would censor the paintings of Enrique Chagoya. Chagoya's "The Misadventures of the Romantic Cannibals," - a lithograph which includes an image of Jesus receiving oral sex- has been on display since Sept. 11 at the tax-funded Loveland Museum Gallery in Loveland, Colorado.

The lithograph has provoked protests; a 56 year old woman is accused of using a crowbar to break glass over the so-called "art" and subsequently ripping the lithograph.

Chagoya told The Associated Press that he was shocked and saddened that his work was attacked.

"My intention has never been to offend anybody," he said.

If that was, indeed, his intention, Chagoya has failed.

Chagoya's work may have been the recipient of a violent attack, but it's unlikely that Chagoya will need to go into hiding because of reaction from Christians. Ironically, Chagoya may very well have to go underground (as cartoonist Molly Norris was advised to do, after her creation of "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day".) if word gets out that the lithograph also contains a panel showing Mohammed kneeling before dancing, transvestite pigs. Equally ironic is the fact that it's the section with Mohammed - not the one of Jesus - which would, in all likelihood, keep the work from being shown at Penn State.

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